What you will read next is one of those stories in which, at first, it seems that reality surpasses fiction and that, after a few laps, everything makes sense. So pay attention and don’t miss out on what is (most likely) one of the most extravagant recipes you’ll read in your life. An Australian company has just announced the creation of the first meatball from a mammoth. Or put another way, the world’s first food created from the protein from an extinct animal. «Our objective is clear: we want to challenge the public and propose a ‘radical revolution’ in the way we eat«, argue the creators of this picturesque project.
Lrecipe for the first mammoth meatballPresented this week at the Netherlands Science Museum, it has been designed by Vow: a company dedicated to the ‘cultivation’ of laboratory meat. For years this company has been working on isolating cells from different species, ‘growing’ them in platelets and letting them grow in sterile environments until they form a tissue that, in practice, it is exactly the same as the fillet of an animal. This technique, used in laboratories around the world, is already being applied to replicate meat from farmed animals such as beef, pork and chicken. But how the meat of an extinct animal is grown?
Is here! Introducing the #mammothmeatballthe first meat in the world made from extinct animal protein 🦣
With @WunThompsonwe’re starting a conversation about what the future of food looks like (and from our point of view, it’s pretty exciting) 🍽
look now at pic.twitter.com/64UUK4Wf1n
— Vote (@itsjustvow) March 29, 2023
The scientists behind the ‘stoves’ of the mammoth meatball They explain the recipe step by step. It all starts, of course, by identifying the most suitable genes to replicate the flavor of a woolly mammoth (a species that disappeared from the face of the earth about 15,000 years ago). «We chose myoglobin: a gene that is very present in the skeleton and in the muscles and that, due to its union with iron, We thought we could give ourselves those characteristic flavors of red meat.«, explain the creators of this recipe.
Having identified the most suitable ‘ingredient’ for the recipe, the scientists focused on trace the presence of myoglobin in the DNA of mammoths. For this, hundreds of genetic sequences of these animals published in public scientific repositories were reviewed. This work allowed replicate create a replica of what the composition of a mammoth meat would be like. «We saw that the sequence had several gaps, so we filled them in with the genes of the closest living relative to the mammoth: the African elephant», explain the scientists behind the first mammoth meatball.
«We complete the sequence with the genes of the closest living relative to the mammoth: the African elephant»
At this point, scientists already had a replica of the genes of a mammoth (spiked with fragments of African elephant). The next step was to insert this genetic material into a set of isolated muscle cells from a sheep and, from there, hope that they will start to function like a mammoth myoglobin factory. «To do this we add essential micronutrients, as well as sugars, salts, vitamins and amino acids,» the scientists explain. Thus they managed to cultivate the 20 billion cells needed to create the world’s first mammoth meatball.
Will you be able to order mammoth meatballs at your trusted restaurant?
The presentation of the first mammoth meatballs, as expected, has raised a myriad of questions. whatWhy has such a bizarre product been created?? Will you be able to get in the restaurants at street level? AND what is the use of having the meat of an extinct animal on a plate? The creators of this recipe explain that their goal is not to market these meatballs, but to start a conversation about the future of the food industry for a world that is increasingly populated and increasingly exposed to the advance of the climate crisis. «If we continue like this, by 2050 we will need two planets like ours to feed humanity«, they stand out.
«This technology has the potential to revolutionize the food industry»
The promoters of this project argue that this meatball actually represents the potential of laboratory-grown meat to reduce the ecological footprint of products of animal origin. «This technology has the potential to revolutionize the food industry. It is about more sustainable productssince they involve less water, land and emissions with respect to traditional livestock, and do not imply animal sufferingl», they explain from Vow after the presentation of their latest (and controversial) creation.